Viewers have vowed to cancel their television licences as they slammed last night’s ‘sickening’ 90-minute Shamima Begum documentary on the BBC.
The programme aired on the back of the corporation’s 10-part podcast that ‘retraces’ the journey she took eight years ago from her home in east London to Syria, where she joined the terrorist group Islamic State.
Begum, now 23, has made several highly publicised attempts to return to the UK and restore her reputation after the Home Secretary stripped her of her British citizenship in 2019.
But critics say the BBC has been ‘parading her as if she is some sort of celebrity’ for views. Viewers of The Shamima Begum Story last night accused the broadcaster of presenting the jihadi bride as a ‘vulnerable young girl’ with ‘beautifully staged, moody shots, ominous back track and tearful pieces to camera’.
She is now living in a refugee camp in northern Syria, which she described as ‘worse than a prison’. She said: ‘I hate myself inside… At least with prison sentences you know there’s going to be an end. But here, you don’t know if there’s going to be an end.’
‘Sickened to have watched the BBC’s airing of ”The Shamima Begum Story”,’ one critic said.
Another said: ‘Please tell me why the BBC are giving Shamima Begum the time of day? That girl has zero remorse and I don’t know why I have to see her on my TV? She had a choice – she made her choice. Vile.’
And the broadcaster was inundated with disappointed customers promising they would not renew their licence, the £159 annual fee viewers must pay to watch BBC programmes.
One said: ‘I won’t be renewing my licence, it’s taking the p**s.’
Another said: ‘What is happening with the BBC? Are you kidding me? Won’t ever pay my TV licence again… She’s a terrorist with no remorse, she doesn’t deserve to have her story heard like she is a victim.’
Begum travelled to Syria when she was 15 with two school friends from Bethnal Green, east London, in February 2015. Kadiza Sultana, who was also 15, and Amira Abase, 16, are believed to have been killed there.
While she now wants to return to the UK and has disavowed the terror group, Begum admitted it was ‘exciting’ to travel to Syria. She said she was ‘in love’ with ISIS and desperate to join.
‘Disgusting and utterly disgraceful,’ one critic said on Tuesday night after the documentary aired.
‘Why are the BBC giving Shamima Begum, a terrorist by association, airtime on our TVs?’